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Posts Tagged ‘Frederick’s of Hollywood’

In case you missed Part I,, I was recounting how I blackballed myself right out of an uppity Bible study. Swiping the coveted blue teapot in a cutthroat game of Dirty Santa was just the beginning.

Later that year, I got engaged to my husband. I was told they would hold a bridal shower and that it was going to focus on “personal” things. I was told to (wink-wink!) scour the catalogs (implying I should not be seen shopping around for such things in our community). This, also, seemed to contradict the goal of accountability, but, good sport I am, I ran the race.

Okay, so I was a virgin when it came to Passion Parties, and this was a good decade before the Passion of Christ was released. But, y’know, I’m a pretty passionate person, and flexible, so…let’s roll. I was on fire for the Lord, why not be on fire for my marriage?

I implicitly trusted these elder women to steer me in the right direction. After all, hadn’t they invited me so they could keep a sharp eye on me in the first place? Wouldn’t they want to steer me closer to my husband-to-be and away from their husbands or their sons or whomever they foolishly feared this femme fatale might devour, or whatever they thought I was?

One day as the shower approached I mentioned something Christian-like such as a religious candle for the wedding ceremony. Oh, no, they chirped – we want to give you things you wouldn’t dare buy yourself! Isn’t there some nice lingerie or bedding you’d like instead? This is a LADIES’ GROUP!

Oooookaaaay…so I went home and rifled through some catalogs I’d recently received and stumbled on a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog. Hmmm…

I browsed and dog-eared the pages. I considered the crotchless underwear, something, like they said, I’d never buy for myself. Leather corsets and bras with neat circles where the nipples should be, oh geez!

Frederick's

Exhibit A, the catalog, along with the beautiful butterfly thang I got from the French Quarter on my own dime 15 years later…with my husband present, thank you very much! If that isn’t the epitome of accountable…

The next Bible study, the leader asked for my catalog choices and I forked over a fistful of ideas, Frederick’s carefully stuffed in the middle.

Next week, on the day of the shower, I was greeted with a room full of blushing matrons and a hushed study. The air was so thick with shifty, uncomfortable fake politeness you could slice it with nothing less than the very sword of the Lord.

This was followed by an awkward opening of shower presents which included spatulas and sensible aprons from Williams-Sonoma and the like. One of them gave me a book on cleaning up one’s mind.

The tea-and-crumpets part of the Bible study was inexplicably abbreviated, and everyone either offered to skibble off to the kitchen to “help” or coincidentally had a pressing errand or appointment to dash to.

Then the wedding happened and I got lost in wedded bliss; somehow they never called after me to see when I would return, and likewise, I didn’t call them.

I was again free banished hurtled back into a life of unaccountability.

(okay, well, one of them who most held me suspect, cornered me in a coffee shop a year later and warned me to be good and stay in my own lane. She was drinking a giant mug of double espresso; I had a little latté. I had my Bible on me, she didn’t. One of us knew what she was talking about, and it wasn’t me, at that point. What, does nobody have fun inside the sanctity of a marriage anymore???)

This accountability group seemed to keep me more accountable to these ladies and their need to have someone or something to talk about, rather than to the good Lord. In fact, they made my mind wander astray and second-guess things.

I was always uneasy with how the initial task in accountability groups was to collect everyone’s prayer requests – and, in the guise of humility, nobody hardly ever asked for prayer for themselves.

No, the prayer requests always felt like a benevolent way of obtaining the latest gossip.

I do, however, appreciate the importance of being accountable – it is a matter of transparency and good intention, both good things when it comes to integrity.

But really, how can we, as sinners, be truly accountable to anyone but God? He knows our hearts and our being, down to the last jot and tittle of our soul, much better than a human prone to judging our baloney ever can.

If an accountability group is properly structured and those in home leaderships are held more accountable, I believe these can be a good way to grow in the Lord. Except the sinner is prone to presenting a façade to whomever he wishes, whenever he wishes – even in the most intimate of relationships.

My limited experience is that the bigger the church, the more diluted group leadership gets and the flock gets more off track with laypersons who mean well but who may be limited in their ability to counsel, guide and keep things focused on the spirit instead of the flesh.

Smaller churches, it goes in reverse and people tend to focus more on being accountable to the smaller, “inner circle” than on what the Lord intends (often a broader perspective) for them to focus on.

This group experience was a gold-mine of spiritual lessons, not one of which I regret.

If it’s true that good intentions pave the way to Hell, I’ll stick with being honest about my bad intentions, inadequacies and fallible foibles – and whatever little good comes out of me, therein lies the gold, silver and precious stones, even though it may not be much in others’ eyes.

It really DOES boil down to a person’s individual, personal relationship with God.

Only HE knows the whole story.

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